About half way between our town and Seattle and a little to the east lies a hamlet that's living a nightmare right now. Other towns in other parts of the country have had their shares of nightmares, I know. Tornadoes, Hurricanes, Fires, Floods. Natural disasters come in all forms. This time a hillside gave way and tumbled down on top of people casually watching cartoons, enjoying a cup of coffee, babysitting a grandbaby or any one of a thousand things one might do on an early spring morning when the sun is shining and the day promises hope.
Instead, without any warning at all, mud and trees and a whole hill toppled on top of houses, moved barns onto a highway, and has left a little town, Oso, and its slightly larger neighbors, Darrington and Arlington (who are the epitome of neighborly), in tatters. We feel it all over this region. The debris field in Oso is a square mile wide, and about 4 stories deep, I read today.
What has struck me about this tragedy, aside from the fact that it's in my neck of the woods, is that there was no warning Saturday morning. Oh there have been warnings about that hillside, general warnings that it was unstable. Back in '06 there was a slide (I sound like my grandfather, don't I?) that rerouted the Stillaguamish River (and yes, I know how to pronounce that word). But nothing in the last months, hours or days, even minutes, gave any warning that the hill would give way when it did. A woman was driving on the highway one moment, the next she was gone. That's how fast it went.
So we've been consumed by Oso's tragedy up here. Oso's tragedy is Darrington's and Arlington's. The road between them is gone at the moment, fully blocked by this mud and debris field, wherefriends and family, community members have joined the National Guard (or maybe I should say the National Guard joined them!) comb the muck, looking for anyone.
So wherever you are as you read this, won't you stop a moment and pray for Oso?